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Kevin Vowles

Associate Professor

Area Head: Health Psychology

Photo: Kevin Vowles
(505) 277-5676
PhD., West Virginia University, 2004
Curriculum vitae

Research Area/s:

Clinical Psychology,  Health Psychology

Research Interests:

  • Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine
  • Use and development of empirically-supported treatments for physical health conditions, such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
  • Assessment measure development
  • Effective and appropriate opioid and analgesic use for chronic pain

Clinical Areas

Since 2017, I have co-directed the UNM Hospital's Interdisciplinary Pain Rehabilitation Program within the Center for Spine and Physical Health.  More information is available here.

Selected Publications

Graduate student publications since 2015 (student in italics):

McEntee, M. L., Pielech, M., & Vowles, K. E. (in press). Pain. In V. Zeigler-Hill & Shackelford, T. K. (Eds.), Encyclopedia of personality and individual differences. New York: Springer.

Vowles, K. E., Bailey, R. W., McEntee, M. L., Pielech, M., Edwards, K. A., Bolling, L. A., & Rivers, W. E. (in press). Using analgesics for emotional modulation is associated with increased distress, depression, and risk of opioid and alcohomisuse: Initial evaluation and component analysis of the Reasons for Analgesic Use Measure (RAUM). Clinical Journal of Pain.

Vowles, K. E., Witkiewitz, K., Pielech, M., Edwards, K. A., McEntee, M. L., Bailey, R. W., Bolling, L. A., & Sullivan, M. D. (in press). Alcohol and opioid use in chronicpain: A cross-sectional examination of differences in functioning based onmisuse status. Journal of Pain.

Witkiewitz, K., Votaw, V. R., Vowles, K. E., & Kranzler, H. R. (2018). Opioid misuse as a predictor of alcohol treatment outcomes in the COMBINE study: Mediation by medication adherence. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 42, 1249-1259.

Steffen, L. E., Vowles, K. E., Smith, B. W., Gan, G. N., & Edelman, M.J. (2018). Daily diary study of hope, stigma, and functioning in lung cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Health Psychology, 37, 218-227.

Bailey, R. B., & Vowles, K. E. (2017). Using screening tests to predict aberrant use of opioids in chronic pain patients: Caveat Emptor. Journal of Pain, 18, 1427-1436.

Edwards, K. A., Vowles, K. E., & Witkiewitz, K. (2017). Co-use of alcohol and opioids. Current Addiction Reports, 4, 194-199.

Pielech, M., Vowles, K. E., & Wicksell, R. (2017). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for pediatric chronic pain: Theory and application. Children, 4, 1-12.

Bailey R.W., Vowles, K. E., Witkiewitz, K., Sowden, G, & Ashworth, J. (2016). Examining committed action in chronic pain: Further validation and clinical utility of the Committed Action Questionnaire. Journal of Pain, 17, 1095-1104.

Mansell, G., Hill, J. C., Main, C. J., van der Windt, D., & Vowles, K. E. (2016). Exploring what factors mediate treatment effect: Example of the STarT Back study high-risk intervention. Journal of Pain, 17, 1237-1245.

Pielech, M., Bailey, R. W., McEntee, M. L., Ashworth, J., Levell, J., Sowden, G., & Vowles, K. E. (2016). Preliminary evaluation of the Values Tracker: A two-item measure of engagement in valued activities in chronic pain. Behavior Modification, 40, 239-256.

McEntee, M. L., Vowles, K. E., & McCracken, L. M. (2016). Development of a chronic pain specific version of the Sickness Impact Profile. Health Psychology, 35, 228-237.

Bailey, R. W., & Vowles, K. E. (2015). Chronic non-cancer pain and opioids: Risks, benefits, and the public health debate. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 46, 340-347.

Witkiewitz, K., Vowles, K. E., McCallion, E., Frohe, T., Kirouac, M., & Maisto, S. A. (2015). Pain as a predictor of alcohol treatment outcomes in the COMBINE study and the United Kingdom Alcohol Treatment Trial. Addiction, 110, 1262-1271.


A few other recent relevant publications:

Thompson, M., Vowles, K. E., Sowden, G., Ashworth, J., & Levell, J. (2018). A qualitative analysis of patient-identified adaptive behavior changes followin interdisciplinary Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for chronic pain.European Journal of Pain, 22, 989-1001.

Witkiewitz, K., & Vowles, K. E. (2018). Alcohol and prescription opioid use, co-use, and chronic pain in the context of the opioid epidemic: A critical review. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 42, 478-488.

Vowles, K. E., Witkiewitz, K., Levell, J., Sowden, G., & Ashworth, J. (2017). Are reductions in pain intensity and pain-related distress necessary? An analysis of within-treatment change trajectories in relation to improved functioning following interdisciplinary Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for adults with chronic pain. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 85, 87-98.

Vowles, K. E. (2015). Editorial overview: The third wave behavioral therapies. Current Opinion in Psychology, 2, v-viii.

Vowles, K. E., McEntee, M. L., Siyahhan Julnes, P., Frohe, T., Ney, J. P., & van derGoes, D. N. (2015). Rates of opioid misuse, abuse, and addiction in chronic pain: A systematic review and data synthesis. Pain, 156, 569-576.

McCracken, L. M., & Vowles, K. E. (2014). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and mindfulness for chronic pain: Model, process, and progress. American Psychologist, 69, 178-187.

Vowles, K. E., Witkiewitz, K., Sowden, G., & Ashworth, J. (2014). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for chronic pain: Evidence of mediation and clinically significant change following an abbreviated interdisciplinary program of rehabilitation. Journal of Pain, 15, 101-113.

Courses Taught

  • PSY 280: Health Psychology (Undergraduate)

  • PSY 450: Anxiety and Depression and Healthcare Settings (Undergraduate)

  • PSY 510: Advanced Health Psychology (Graduate)

  • PSY 514: Health Psychology Interventions (Graduate)

  • PSY 650: Clinical Behavior Analysis (Graduate)

  • Extracurricular Activity: Philosophy of Science Reading Group (Graduate)


Current Graduate Students:

Melissa Pielech, MA (on internship 2018-2019 @ Brown University)

Eric Kruger, MS

Karlyn Edwards, MS

Graham Ford, MS

Previous Graduate Students:

Laurie E. Steffen, Ph.D. (2016; currently a post-doc @ Wake-Forest University

Mindy McEntee, Ph.D. (2018; currently a post-doc @ University of Arizona)

Robert W. Bailey, Ph.D. (2018; currently a post-doc @ Seattle VA Healthcare System)

Information for Potential Graduate Students:

It is likely that I will be accepting a graduate student for the 2019-2020 school year.  I am most interested in training clinical-scientists who want to work in physical health conditions.  If you are a prospective graduate student, feel free to email me details regarding your interests and career plans, as well as a current CV.